Has CD player technology progressed so much in 30 years?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by CMT, Aug 3, 2019.

  1. Ron Stone

    Ron Stone Offending Member

    Location:
    Deep Maryland
    I do think that DACs have improved -- or at least, changed -- over thirty years.

    I had the experience of buying a new budget du jour player -- the ubiquitous Onkyo 7030 -- and living with it for several months. Then I dropped in my old State Of The Art player when a friend asked to audition the Onkyo. Boy, that old Technics was NOT vavuuming up the ones and zeroes like the newer Onkyo, even though the Technics was a more expensive and mechanically robust machine.

    I realized I had inadvertently performed the sort of long-term audition the magazines use and can now agree it may be the best way to assess components. Live with them for several months as the sole change, and then replace it and hear what you're missing.

    By the time I decided I was willing to pay for the 7030's sound in a prettier package, Onkyo had discontinued its more expensive 7070 and 7000R models. But as much as I liked the bullet-proof construction of the old machine, I'm not willing to compomise the sonics.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
  2. CMT

    CMT Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Well, if you want to talk about really old CD players, here is a shot of my first CD player, which, as you can see, I still have. I hadn't touched it in probably 25 years, but I dusted it off this morning and hooked it up and it plays and sounds not bad at all, either (although not as good as the Pioneer or the DAC in my Outlaw Audio amplifier). I need to get some contact cleaner to spruce things up, but it works just fine. I have to use a 120V to 100V step-down transformer to use it as this is the original Japanese Sony D-5 (I think overseas versions were the Sony D-50), purchased in Japan in mid-1984. I actually got mine pre-release. I think they came out in the autumn of 1984. I had a friend at the time who worked at Stereo Sound magazine (one of Japan's major audiophile magazines) and he got me one directly from Sony during the period when Sony was putting them in the hands of reviewers. I got a discount, but paid ¥35,000 for it, I think, which at the time would have been about $220 (exchange rate $=¥165). The actual retail price was more than that. According to inflation calculators online, even what I paid would have been about $515 in today's money, so it wasn't a cheap machine. I had a TV repair guy come to my apartment at the time to fix a problem with my TV (bad capacitor. People actually fixed TVs in those days) and the guy saw it there next to the TV. He had never seen a CD player before, much less a compact one like this. He freaked out. He couldn't get over how cool it looked and he clearly had this look on his face that said "you must be rich if you have a CD player." He didn't say that, of course, but that's what he seemed to be thinking. I wasn't rich. I lived in a tiny apartment (that would, literally, fit into my living room today), but I did have a CD player.

    [For some reason, it won't let me post a photo here..... Still new to this forum. It asks for a URL, but surely you can indicate something on your own computer rather than a URL already online, but I don't see how to do that.]
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
  3. rodentdog

    rodentdog Forum Resident

    To the OP, your CDP has coax digital out. Use your CDP as the transport. Get a standalone DAC. I'd start with a Schiit Modi multibit (MIMBY). Not too much $$, one used on the bay right now. See if you like what it does for the sound. Don't worry about pre emphasis for now. Enjoy the music!
     
    Vinny123 likes this.
  4. CMT

    CMT Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA
    I’ve been thinking about the Chord Qutest.....
     
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  5. Tullman

    Tullman I prefer analog

    Location:
    Boston MA
    Yes, my Onkyo 7030 sounds much better than any of my older cd players from Denon, Marantz, and Pioneer. I have a Marantz cd player, I believe from the 90's and the transport still works. The old 80's to early 90's transports were built to last decades. Now days we get crap transports made not to last, even on expensive cd players. This is why I have an esoteric cd player now.
     
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  6. Tullman

    Tullman I prefer analog

    Location:
    Boston MA
    This makes more sense than quick blind listening samples to me.
     
  7. nick99nack

    nick99nack Forum Resident

    Location:
    Statesboro, GA
    I believe you have to upload the image to an external site (like imgur.com) and then paste the link to it into that box.

    As for the original question: It probably depends on a number of factors. For what it's worth, I preferred the sound of my Sony 507ESD from 1989 (with 2 Philips TDA1451A DACs inside) to the Oppo UDP-205 for regular redbook CDs. It has a very deep, almost 3D soundstage.
     
    CMT likes this.
  8. CMT

    CMT Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA
    It seems like in this day and age you ought to be able to just drag and drop an image from your desktop to post an image, but it’s no matter. If anyone really wants to see what the Sony D-5 looks like, all they have to do is a Google image search for that and it will come right up.

    As for it sound, it’s really not bad considering how old it is and that Sony really had to do some creative engineering to get all the circuitry into such a small box, but my Pioneer and the Outlaw Audio DACs really do sound much better now that I’ve spent the day listening to the old Sony.
     
    nick99nack likes this.
  9. nick99nack

    nick99nack Forum Resident

    Location:
    Statesboro, GA
    The problem is server storage space. It's cheaper to use an image hosting service than to have the forum host them all.

    I have a D-5 as well and a D-50. They're neat little players, but mine need work now. There seems to be a tracking issue with the D50, and the D5 just won't spin.
     
    CMT likes this.
  10. CMT

    CMT Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA
    You might try cleaning all the contacts. When I unpacked mine yesterday, it sat there completely inertly at first. I think it just wasn't getting power. I cleaned all the connections and plugged it all back in and voilá.... Might not work, but it's worth a try.
     
  11. vwestlife

    vwestlife Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    Yes, CD player technology has progressed -- but mostly in terms of making them more affordable, highly integrated, and reliable. In terms of sound quality, the difference is not quite as great as you might believe:
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Michael Chavez

    Michael Chavez Forum Resident

    Location:
    US
    "old" CD players can be some of the best sounding
    they can also be some of the worst sounding
    "new" CD players can be some of the best sounding
    they can also be some of the worst sounding

    it's more about circuit design, transport mechanism and the particular chip sets used than age

    believe it or not, and I do, there are early Red Book era chip sets that have as much wonderfulness to them as do the NOS tubes so many folks love
    and as far as laser mechanisms, more than a few current high end/high price makers hoard and scavenge the classic Philips CDM1 types to use at the heart of their 21st century builds

    I would not replace a machine I enjoyed simply for the sake of having some abstraction like "newest" technology

    the technology is pretty much said and done and has been for a while now - what differentiates Red Book machines more than anything else is, as said already, circuit design and execution (chip set and mechanism)
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019 at 2:16 PM
    markc2, jfeldt and CMT like this.
  13. Vinny123

    Vinny123 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida
    I stopped buying players about a year ago. Bought a Schiit Bifrost Multibit DAC and a Tascam cd200 as a transport. Sounds great, I love it. I had enough w expensive players and their transports and lasers dying. I did a similar thing for Blu-ray and SACD by getting an Essence HDMI DAC. You’re right, forget pre emphasis for now.
     
    rodentdog likes this.
  14. Vinny123

    Vinny123 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida
    I agree. I’ve been through numerous decent players that had reliability issues.
     
  15. marcel

    marcel Alea Iacta Est

    Location:
    Italy
    I also have a 1991 Marantz CD player that works perfectly. This drawer wheel is the only part I had to replace.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. CMT

    CMT Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA
    I have no interest in a new DAC for the sake if its newness. I'm interested in sound quality. It's just that, according to some, virtually any new DAC is likely to offer better sound than a DAC as old the one in my Pioneer CD player, or that's what I was hearing, so, I enquired to see what people think. Thanks to this thread, I'm coming to the conclusion that that's not necessarily true.
     
    The Pinhead likes this.
  17. markc2

    markc2 Forum Resident

    Your older CD player looks beautiful by the way. Not sure what you bought first the speakers or the integrated amp. In which ever order you did that in, which to you was the biggest bang for the buck?

    I realize you just bought your integrated, but I have been stunned by how changing an amp really does change the sound. I would work hard to get separate amp/preamp, before going after anything else.

    A lot of older CD players use Digital to Analog Converters that have a cult status such as the TD1541A chip. So in my world I wouldn't be in a rush to upgrade the CD player, but like someone mentioned if you want to go SACD/DSD that's a whole other world.

    As far as cables go, I think they can change the sound of your system, but not more than 10% of the way your system sounds now. So maybe getting some cables that don't accent the top end might make your older CD player sound quite as good as the new one, and if you don't go crazy on cables (2nd hand) it would be a lot cheaper as well.

    IF it were me and it isn't :) I'd be looking to upgrade the integrated amp first. I think that would make the biggest change. The cool part is you could bring your CD player around and try it out in different settings.

    Good Luck and Have FUN!!
     
    CMT likes this.
  18. Litejazz53

    Litejazz53 Enjoying the Beauty of "Crystal Clear" Digital

    Being a true classical music person, you could absolutely benefit from SACD, there are so many beautiful Classical SACDs. If you just wanted to limit yourself to CD, you could consider the Marantz CD6006 at $500.00. I know this hurts, but the Marantz SA-K1 Ruby is one of their top notch, made in Japan CD/SACD players, it lists for $3,999.00, but I can help you find it for less if you were interested, I know it's a great deal of money, but if will transform you listening experience forever. I just purchased their SA-10 CD/SACD player and it's just the best I have ever heard. The SA-K1 Ruby is the next model down, but a beautiful piece to be sure. I can assure you, this will be your last CD/SACD purchase. Oh, I should also mention it has a very worthy DAC which is included, and it's a GREAT DAC, mine works beautifully on everything I throw at it. :righton:

    Marantz SA-KI/PM-KI Ruby SACD Player/Amplifier
     
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  19. The Pinhead

    The Pinhead SLEAZY SOUTHAMERICAN CAVEMAN

    Well it is as simple as that using this online image hosting website. You drag, drop, and copy the link, then paste on the link on your post, for free !

    https://postimages.org
     
  20. Litejazz53

    Litejazz53 Enjoying the Beauty of "Crystal Clear" Digital

    Take a look and see what you think, nice selection of top notch SACDs!

    Amazon.com: classical sacd: CDs & Vinyl
     
    markc2 likes this.
  21. CN211276

    CN211276 Member

    Location:
    UK
    I have had a Qutest for two and a half years and am very pleased with it, streaming Qobuz and ripped CDs.
     
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  22. Kal Rubinson

    Kal Rubinson Forum Resident

    "Cult status" is, almost by definition, suspect.:rolleyes:
     
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  23. ffracer

    ffracer Custom Title

    That Pioneer is really nice and well built. I'd keep using it, but you will need a back up CD player for when the laser goes someday.

    The AudioLab player seems pretty good, except it has a slot loader, which as they age start to scratch the CDs as they roll in. Ironically, it has better error correction!

    As mentioned, the big thing with newer CD players is the transport longevity. So few companies make their own transports anymore.

    I would go with good reviews for durability and ease of use and then get a DAC externally if you would like.
     
    CMT likes this.
  24. CMT

    CMT Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Can lasers not be replaced? You have to throw out the whole machine?
     
  25. CMT

    CMT Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA
    I'm inclining along these lines. Just settling in for a while, saving my money for when the CD Player goes, but, if the laser is the most likely thing eventually to go, can you not replace lasers in CD players?
     

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